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Probable life sentence for a 13yo in the USA (warning: potentially distressing news story)

(149 Posts)
VivaLeBeaver Mon 17-Sep-12 19:20:00

here (MNHQ: link to details of potentially distressing news story)

I know what he did was awful and he's obviously got issues, previous incidents of a sexual nature, killing a cat, etc. but I can't think that this is right. This sounds like a boy who's been badly let down, exposed to horrible stuff, etc. I really hate to think of him spending the rest of his life in prison. He's a child, he needs help. He needed help before it got to this stage.

domesticgodless Fri 28-Sep-12 14:49:39

But by no means have you justified your use of the vile word 'nonce'l

domesticgodless Fri 28-Sep-12 14:49:14

What you just said about the American extremists is frankly terrifying, Extro. I don't know how you can bear to talk to those people.

slug Thu 27-Sep-12 13:59:38

Can we have a 'totally failing to see the point' emoticon Mumsnet Towers?

Extrospektiv Thu 27-Sep-12 13:27:20

Do NOT accuse me of failing to believe in forgiveness or compassion or "writing anyone off". I would not have said 15 years' detention had I believed he was beyond rehabilitation. I have some American friends and acquaintances I speak to online- mostly sane non-fanatical Republicans but a few from the hardline fringe- and one (a Tea Partier from Mississippi, believes Obama's a Muslim Marxist, is terrified of him declaring Martial Law, but thinks the next Republican government should declare Martial Law to override civil rights rules and expel all Muslim-Americans, and execute abortion doctors even if what they did was legal at the time in the same way Nazis were killed at Nuremberg for doing things that were within the laws they had helped Hitler to make- the works as far as right wing fanaticism goes) said that Fernandez should be "taken out, because I'm sick of paying for evil people to live in prisons."

I said "WTF? I'm against any death penalty except possibly for a dictator who's killed thousands or millions of his own people or a terrorist who killed millions by dropping a nuclear bomb on a major world city, but for a 13 year old?" She responded "12 is the age of accountability. He's beyond help. Execute him." She knows that the legal minimum age for death sentences is 18, but believes the president should just overrule that and have him killed anyway. She said "Bush technically broke the constitution non stop fighting the Jihad stopped him, and avenging 9/11 was more important than following pieces of paper. It's the same here."

That's what "right wing hate", "far right extremist", "no compassion", "dangerous", "unforgiving", "banging" and all the other things I've been called on this thread look like. Perhaps seeing real right-wing extremism might stop you calling me out on my NON-EXISTENT version.

I believe God can forgive even the most hardened sinner, eg. Jeffrey Dahmer (only God can know if that was a real conversion or not, but as he was never getting out or getting a low security joint, and he knew it, he didn't have the reason to lie.)

Dahmer also had a bad childhood but did much more monstrous things than even Fernandez, and did them well into his adult years. So of course I'm not writing him off- the difference is I believe Fernandez shouldstill have a life ahead of him as a free and productive member of society, once he has served enough time for punishment and if the appropriate experts believe he is safe to be released.

To me, a man who gets a one year stretch for downloading CP is a "nonce" too- and that doesn't mean he's the worst person ever, it doesn't mean I hate him or think he's something less than human: it could be a weak and lonely man struggling against sexual temptation for children all his life who knows why the child porn/abusive images industry is so wrong but succumbs after a personal tragedy. It certainly doesn't mean he's not saved or not savable- Christians have committed murder, most of them will have repented by the time their death if they are genuine believers, and a lot of them very soon after the fact they've killed someone sets in. So someone could be a Christian forgiven by God and be a sexual offender, too.

To call someone a nonce to me is just a description, like rapist or pervert or child abuser. Sure it's harsh but given the effects that sexual violence has on its victims and even those it touches indirectly I find it fair.

domesticgodless Thu 27-Sep-12 10:15:25

oh and before Extro comes striding in saying I'm 'godless' and therefore cannot speak a word about 'her' religion: I grew up in a religious family which I love and respect. I also respect their religion and many of its principles. Just not the ones that condemn people for acts (particularly but not always sexual acts) which have nothing to do with anyone else.

domesticgodless Thu 27-Sep-12 10:11:54

exactly Terry. That's the most disturbing thing about extro's posts. The banging morality combined with utter lack of compassion. Sure isn't Christianity as I know it.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Wed 26-Sep-12 23:32:06

Wrong. And basing morality purely on the "harm principle" is a secular humanist construct which, as a religious believer, is a no-no. If that was the case it would be OK to blaspheme God or fail to worship Him, because it didn't harm anyone (God being above harm by human actions.) God has given us certain rules to follow and one of them requires sex to be restricted to a monogamous relationship between a man and woman, who become as one flesh. If we disobey God's rules, we sin.

No, you sin. Because I don't believe and therefore your rules do not apply to me. This is the problem with religion. I'm not forcing you to take you Lord's name in vain. However, you can't tell me that something I do is a sin because that is a meaningless construct to me. The irony is that pointy, others and I have been trying to talk about this boy as a human, weak and troubled and doing dreadful crimes where you, a Christian, write him off as a 'nonce'. What happened to forgiveness and all that?

pointythings Wed 26-Sep-12 18:10:19

Well, this is where you and I part company on morality then, Extro, because I am in favour of the repeal of all blasphemy laws, everywhere. Look how they're used in Pakistan - and let's not forget that it wasn't all that long ago that homosexuals could be imprisoned.

There are debates to be had on abortion - I am pro-choice but would strongly favour prevention and good sex education as more effective (as evidenced by the many countries with sexually progressive cultures as I quoted above) I would like to know whether are you against abortion in cases of rape, incest and the like, and how you feel about the case of the 9-year-old who was raped and impregnated by her father, then excommunicated by the Catholic Church for having a termination of the pregnancy that would probably have killed her? I realise that this is an extreme case, but it serves to illustrate that life is complex, and that acts of enormous evil are committed in the name of religious morality.

No-one has the right to not be offended. Clearly you come at morality from a virtually exclusively religious perspective, which means that this whole debate is a case of never the twain shall meet. Given the treatment of homosexuals in many countries in the world in the name of religion, and the horrors perpetuated against women in many countries in the name of religion, forgive me for thinking that secular morality has a lot going for it. I do not by the way include countries like communist China and Russia among these - I realise they are often used as an example of 'look what awful things happen without religion!'. Both Mao and Stalin crated cults of personality, much as the Kim dynasty has done in North Korea, and that is merely replacing one form of faith 'morality' with another. Comparing these regimes to secular morality as practised in much of Western Europe is like comparing apples and pears, and is a straw man argument besides.

Lastly I would still like to know why you have felt it necessary to be so vituperatively unpleasant about the boy whose case started this thread. We get that you feel he is evil and beyond redemption, but terms like 'dangerous criminal', 'beyond saving' etc. would have sufficed. Name-calling is just plain unnecessary, except perhaps to make you feel better.

Extrospektiv Tue 25-Sep-12 22:23:04

Wrong. And basing morality purely on the "harm principle" is a secular humanist construct which, as a religious believer, is a no-no. If that was the case it would be OK to blaspheme God or fail to worship Him, because it didn't harm anyone (God being above harm by human actions.) God has given us certain rules to follow and one of them requires sex to be restricted to a monogamous relationship between a man and woman, who become as one flesh. If we disobey God's rules, we sin.

An atheist's view on what Jesus would or wouldn't do is usually going to be dead wrong. Especially when you get the disgusting, and blasphemous, caricature of Him as a hippie who would have supported free love had he lived in a different time. He is the Messiah, sent by God Himself, and His statements represent eternal truths.

Christians actually do a lot more against hunger, war, abuse and poverty than against sexual immorality IME. (Perhaps it's not going to a fundamentalist church- and the majority of churches aren't fundie.)

Jesus is against some greedy bankers and other super-rich people (the Temple money lenders of this day) AND the sexually immoral, i.e. those who don't follow His standards. There is not the slightest contradiction between the two.

Except if you can only think in political stereotypes, and think "well the Right oppose sexual immorality, and the Left oppose corrupt and extreme forms of capitalism (with the very far-left opposing all capitalism), therefore it's one or the other". And that's a blinkered way to see things.

Killing an unborn child is wrong. And we can't know which children will grow up to do evil, so it would probably run on probability- with those whose genes predispose them to violence, etc. , the children of the poor and vulnerable being aborted to "stop their bad life before it starts."
In other words, eugenics, and totally unacceptable. We can work towards a society where there are less of the circumstances which promote crime- more early intervention, more decisive action on poverty, etc. But killing those who are going to grow up in bad homes or are genetically unlucky as foetuses isn't the way forward.

pointythings Tue 25-Sep-12 22:22:40

Agreed, monsterchild - I was merely trying - probably in vain - to make Extro realise the dangers of moral absolutes. You are more than likely right that more liberal abortion rights would have made no difference in this particular case.

And one of the big MagLites is great for personal protection and lights your way, too. We have one in the kitchen and hope only ever to use it for the latter.

I stand by what I said about the focus of many Evangelicals, though - what a waste of energy.

monsterchild Tue 25-Sep-12 22:17:47

slug you are correct when adding in adults and guns. I'm with you on the gun issue, BTW, I have a BIL who is enamored with guns, and it's amazing to me that he owns so many. He likely won't become a statistic, but personally, a good baseball bat is as effective for self-protection as any weapon. And you can let the kids play with it, too!

pointy I think that is an exercise in delusion. We have no idea what the mother's ideals are about abortion, and whether the father of the child would have allowed her to get one.

I know that many women in this situation have children because of DV, and being kept pregnant is a form of control. So the availability of a clinic really may not have made a big difference, because really, it's not so hard to get an abortion in the States, no matter what you may believe.

And I also try not to use "America" too much, as it does indeed include everyone in the Western Hemisphere, and we certainly have our differences.

I agree Lambethlil that the real works begins now for this child and his family. Hopefully support will be forthcoming and he can get what he needs to be successful!

pointythings Tue 25-Sep-12 22:03:31

I have enormous problems with the concept of sin. To my mind, matters of right and wrong are about whether harm is done, and the idea of sin just seems to bypass that completely. I wish that particular brands of the faithful - but mostly Evangelical Christians - would put half the energy that they put into worrying about matters of the bedchamber into dealing with the real problems of hunger, war, abuse and poverty instead.

Just as an aside to throw into the mix - if abortions were easier to get in the US, the boy that this thread is all about might have been aborted, and none of this would have happened. Would that have been a good thing or a bad thing? Discuss.

domesticgodless Tue 25-Sep-12 21:57:44

Woah. Strange that someone obviously intelligent is so hung up on the fixed idea of 'sin'.

I always think that has more to do with people's own psychological hang ups than anything else. If Jesus were around today he'd be protesting against the bankers. Not telling people who they could sleep with,

Extrospektiv Tue 25-Sep-12 21:29:49

BTW- I consider any man and woman to be married before God if they undergo a civil wedding, a religious wedding (in any faith- provided they are monogamous, where laws/religions allow polygamy only the first wedding is valid before God and any further one is sin.) Or even if two people who wish to spend the rest of their lives together as a couple make wholly informal vows before witnesses and/or privately. For example, if a woman's interpretation of feminism included the rejection of marriage as a social or legal institution because they saw it as inextricably patriarchal, she and a man she wanted to share her life with would be classed as spiritually married and thus not in sin if they were having sex. (not everyone believes this- some say it must be a formal ceremony)

Basically- I think it's OK to have sex within a monogamous mixed-sex relationship with the intention of permanent union ceremonially expressed. Universal, equally possible within any country, jurisdiction, culture or tradition.

Homosexual marriages can only be recognised by civil law and/or particular religious institutions; I do not believe that God recognises them, and homosexual sex acts are sin in themselves (separate to fornication= sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman) so it would make no difference.

Extrospektiv Tue 25-Sep-12 21:21:03

And like it or not, society's laws have to cater to everyone, irrespective of their beliefs and lack thereof.

I wholeheartedly agree, Pointy. I do NOT believe followers of any religion should be treated as superior by the civil law or that religion should dictate the civil law. I would hate to live in a theocracy.

pointythings Tue 25-Sep-12 21:11:52

Your God, Extro, and your interpretations. There are, fortunately, a lot more flavours of Christianity.

And like it or not, society's laws have to cater to everyone, irrespective of their beliefs and lack thereof. Some people interpret this as 'Christians being marginalised/persecuted' when in fact it's the traditional preferential treatment of the religious being removed to create a level playing field. No-one is stopping you from believing what you want, but you will be prevented from imposing the consequences of those beliefs on those who do not share them.

BTW the proposed law change is about civil marriage for gay couples. DH and I had a registry office wedding, because I am an atheist. Would you consider us to be not married?

I would strenuously oppose any attempt by politicians to force religious organisations to conduct ceremonies for gay couples. However, I would very much support a change in the law to allow those religious organisations and even individuals who wished to conduct a religious wedding for a gay couple to do so.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Tue 25-Sep-12 20:58:30

I believe the acts of homosexual sex are wrong. Then don't have sex with someone of the same gender as you. I hate coriander but since it doesn't hurt anyone, I don't have an opinion on other people eating it. It's no one's business unless someone is not consenting or unable to give consent.

I think everyone has pointed out that we are not disapproving of pro-family ideas. I have a family. I am the product of a family. I like families. I just choose not to restrict their definition to what I do.

I find the religious thing utterly strange. I can't make myself believe, I haven't chosen to be an atheist. These things just happen. I won't adhere to a set of rules that are there because of something I don't think exists.

Extrospektiv Tue 25-Sep-12 20:52:32

No domestic, not ALL liberals, some (extremist and/or activist ones). The ones who think traditional religion has no place in the 21st century and that being strongly religious is "outdated" and we should just "move with the times" to secularism and social liberalism. Or that those living in Europe need to "move to America" or even worse "Iran/Saudi Arabia".

I don't care about the "times" or being on the "wrong side of history", I care about my faith and being on the RIGHT side of God's truths.

Extrospektiv Tue 25-Sep-12 20:49:17

I don't want to close down debate. People are perfectly welcome to disapprove of pro-family ideas, just not to imply that those who hold them are more likely to hurt other people (a criminal act and a sin) for not living by the norms of the traditional family, which is untrue.

I believe the acts of homosexual sex are wrong and my political views on marriage has no relation to it as gay marriage before God is impossible, and only a marriage recognised by God can grant the moral right to have sex- civil marriage just grants rights under secular laws.(between men OR women, some pro-gay marriage people think it's just an immature icky reaction to a penis going into an anus, and I accept that many of the worst genuine homophobes focus entirely on men and anuses and "sodomites" in their rhetoric, but not people like me who just have a conscientious belief in the complimentarity of male and female.)

This is a view held by over half the practising Christians in this country, nearly all Muslims worldwide, and a lot of other faiths and traditions. It is not extreme. It is just not secular.

pointythings Tue 25-Sep-12 20:46:25

I'm a lefty liberal atheist. I have a family and fully intend to stay married for life.

I would also like homosexual people to be allowed to have a family and stay married for life. The way they do in many countries, my native Holland being one of them. And as far as I have noticed the fabric of society hasn't noticeably disintegrated over there. Extro don't you find it odd that the countries in the world which have the most 'progressive' attitudes towards sexual mores also have lower teenage pregnancy and abortion rates and higher ages for first intercourse than countries which have 'good old-fashioned' values?

domesticgodless Tue 25-Sep-12 20:34:33

you don't stereotype liberals... but you KNOW they are all out to destroy the family and church?

ok I'm off now, I'm getting sucked into your bundle of contradictions.

domesticgodless Tue 25-Sep-12 20:33:10

er, no sorry Extro. Libel is a hysterical thing to suggest here (not that I care that much... sue me) and I think you know it. The remark was a reply to slug's query about what 'anti-family' might mean in the context you mentioned and was partly black humour. You're not the only right winger in the world, and at the very extreme end they commit horrible violence against 'sinners'. How else do you explain the killings of doctors in the US who practice abortion?

I know perfectly well that not all right wingers are violent. Ffs. Your hysterical reaction is intended to close down debate, but it won't.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Tue 25-Sep-12 20:31:28

Does that mean that gay people can't ever have sex? Because if you are undecided about gay marriage and think people should wait until they get married to have sex, that means gay people never get to have sex. Or, have to wait until you have decided.

I am pro-family. So much so that I would like anyone who wants one to have one. Gay parents to have one, unmarried people, infertile people. Just not people who don't want them. You may be against sexual revolution but some of the most open, sexually liberal societies have the highest average age of losing virginity, the lowest unwanted pregnancies and abortions. From the Economist, "Laws that restrict abortion did not seem to lower the number of procedures. On the contrary, restrictive laws were associated with higher rates."

Extrospektiv Tue 25-Sep-12 20:17:47

No, I'm not confusing the left with anarchy. I know the difference quite well and I do not stereotype liberals.

And I am perfectly familiar with the religious left- from Catholic super-liberal Michael Moore to Jim Wallis' Sojourners (who I partially support due to their pro-aiding the poor, pro-peace ideology) and the Children's Defense Fund (support some but not all their beliefs), the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (absolutely opposed- this is my life/family/sexuality views), the Interfaith Alliance (mixture of good and bad) and the United Church of Christ/Quakers/many United Reformed Churches in Britain.

Lambethlil Tue 25-Sep-12 20:15:43

Sorry, reread my linked thread- not dismissed, but charges changed.

But as you were hmm

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